Murder For Ratings: Hunted Brazil TV Crime Show Host Gone Missing
Wallace Souza, a former state legislator and TV crime show host in Brazil who is accused of commissioning killings to boost his ratings, has gone missing after his arrest warrant was issued.
Brazilian police are hunting the 51-year-old Amazonian politician and television presenter who has officially been on the run since Monday after an arrest warrant was issued in his name, listing charges of drug trafficking, gang formation, and weapons possession. Souza had enjoyed parliamentary immunity until the state assembly expelled him last week.
Authorities said that although they have not yet been able to locate Souza, but a search is under way, with airports and roads from the city of Manaus in the Amaon region being closely monitored. Some reports, posted online, suggested that Souza had tried to kill himself, while others stated that he had been hiding in a friend's apartment.
Authorities suspect the presenter and his son Rafael orchestrated five killings to increase ratings for his Canal Livre show, which featured graphic footage of crime victims.State police intelligence chief Thomaz Vasconcelos had said: "The order to execute always came from (Souza) and his son, who then alerted the TV crews to get to the scene before the police."
Mr Souza who has not been charged in connection with any killings, denies the accusations, and says they are part of a smear campaign by his political opponents. However, the police say they have been unable to find the former crime show presenter despite searching a number of locations where he could have been.
Souza has yet to be charged, but his son, Rafael Souza, was jailed in August on charges of homicide, drug trafficking, and illegal gun possession.